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Raiders coaching search 2024: Looking at the early candidates

Mark Davis has a big decision to make

New York Jets v Las Vegas Raiders
Mark Davis
Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Las Vegas Raiders owner Mark Davis will likely begin his 2024 coaching search in earnest in less than five weeks.

But, as expected, there have been reports and speculation of several candidates. Some may turn out to be legitimate candidates and some may not and, yes, expect more names to emerge.

But, here with five games remaining (starting with Sunday’s home game against the Minnesota Vikings), let’s review what we know so far as Davis looks to find his replacement for Josh McDaniels, who was fired October 31. Here are some reported potential candidates presented in alphabetical order:

Rich Bisaccia:

Sports Illustrated has reported Davis may want to bring back Bisaccia, who, of course led the Raiders to a 7-5 record and a playoff berth after he took over after Jon Gruden sudden resignation amid an email scandal in 2021. Davis picked McDaniels over Bisaccia in January, 2022. If Davis regrets not hiring Bisaccia, who was extremely popular with his players and the fan base, perhaps he can make up for it by bringing him back.

Jon Gruden:

Sports Illustrated also reported that Davis wants to bring back Gruden and the NFL would likely look the other way if Gruden drops his lawsuit against the league as part of his return to the Raiders. I don’t doubt Davis wants Gruden back. He thought bringing him back to the franchise in 2018 was his crowning achievement as the team’s owner and he was upset when Gruden was forced out in 2021. So, as crazy as this may look on the surface, it’s actually plausible that Gruden could coach the Raiders for a third time.

2023 Big Ten Championship - Iowa v Michigan
Jim Harbaugh
Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Jim Harbaugh:

There have been reports that the Raiders’ job would interest the Michigan coach as well as a possible opening in Chicago. Davis has made a run at Harbaugh, a former Raiders’ assistant, in the past. So, if Harbaugh is interested in the Raiders, Davis would probably have mutual interest. Plus, Davis wants a home run. Harbaugh would qualify, although he comes with some risks as well.

Antonio Pierce:

Davis has said Pierce has a chance to be retained. His best chance, of course, is to win the final five games and try to sneak into the playoffs at 10-7. The 5-7 Raiders are currently slotted in 13th place in the AFC with seven teams making the playoffs. So, Pierce’s work is cut out for him. Still, if the Raiders finish strong and miss the playoffs, pierce still may have a chance to get the full-time gig.

David Shaw:

The Las Vegas Review-Journal has reported that the former Stanford coach is a name to keep an eye on during this search. He is a former Raiders’ assistant and has a strong reputation as a leader even though his final years at Stanford weren’t great. He interviewed in Denver last year and it makes sense he could be a candidate in Las Vegas.

Conclusion:

Again, there will be more names emerging in the next several weeks. This is very much a fluid situation.